5th Anniversary Issue: Crashes & Burns

5th Anniversary Issue: Crashes & Burns We watched their stars rise, then violently explode. by Steven Sandor RAHIM JAFFER FEB 2006 The face of the new, modern, youthful Tory party is named chair of the Conservative Caucus. OCT 2008 During the campaign, Jaffer is rarely present in Edmonton-Strathcona, his riding…

5th Anniversary Issue: Crashes & Burns

We watched their stars rise, then violently explode.

RAHIM JAFFER

FEB 2006 The face of the new, modern, youthful Tory party is named chair of the Conservative Caucus.

OCT 2008 During the campaign, Jaffer is rarely present in Edmonton-Strathcona, his riding since 1997. On election night, he learns during his victory speech that late returns put New Democrat Linda Duncan in the lead. Within two days he has a shotgun wedding with Tory Helena Guergis and concedes to Duncan.

SEPT 2009 Once an anti-drug advocate, he’s pulled over in Ontario and charged with impaired driving and possession of cocaine, which he claims wasn’t his.

MAR 2010 All the charges are dropped save the count of careless driving, to which Jaffer pleads guilty and gets a $500 fine. Court documents are sealed.

APR 2010 Harper kicks Guergis out of the party for alleged criminal behaviour involving Jaffer. She is cleared by RCMP, but the Tories won’t have her back. A year later, she fails in her bid to recapture her riding as an independent.


EDMONTON OILERS

JUNE 2006 The Oilers lose the Stanley Cup final in seven games to the Hurricanes. They are Canada’s best NHL team.

JULY 2006 Captain Chris Pronger – who was supposed to symbolize how Edmonton can compete in the post-lockout, parity-first NHL – demands a trade, and gets it.

APR 2007 A season after making it to the Stanley Cup final, the Oilers miss the playoffs, the first of five consecutive seasons without post-season play.

JUNE 2007 Pronger leads the Anaheim Ducks to win the Cup.

JUNE 2010 The Oilers finish dead last in the league, but take Taylor Hall with the top draft pick.

MAR 2011 An injury suffered in a fight takes Hall out of the season’s remaining 17 games.
The Oilers go on to finish dead last in the NHL … again.


THE EXPO 2017 BID

APR 2009 The Heritage Minister solicits Canadian cities for an Expo 2017 bid that the feds might fund. Edmonton emerges as the front-runner to host it as the nation’s big 150th birthday party.

NOV 2010 The feds back out of the bid, say they can’t fork over $700 million, plus more for security costs after the G20 riots.

NOV 2010 Mayor Mandel blames Conservative MP Rona Ambrose and warns that
Edmontonians will abandon the Tories at the ballot box.

MAY 2011 Our memories are shorter than Mandel expected. All but one Tory wins in the Edmonton area, including Ambrose, with almost three-quarters of the vote.


THE AIRPORT LOBBY

JULY 2009 Council votes 10-3 to close the City Centre Airport in stages and redevelop the area into a 216-hectare sustainable neighbourhood.

JULY 2010 Pro-airport lobby group Envision Edmonton unveils alternative plan to redevelop the area while keeping the runways open. The group claims it has 50,000 of the 78,000 signatures needed to force council to reopen the airport issue.

SEPT 2010 The Envision petition is rejected because it’s a year past due and there are not enough verified names on the petition.

OCT 2010

During the municipal election, Envision volunteer Nathan Black poses as a Seattle journalist. Mandel threatened to sue Black after comments appear on a blog that suggest  the mayor backs the closure of the airport to pass the profits to developer pals. Black denies writing the posts. Mandel drops the lawsuit in July. Mandel and most pro-closure councillors are re-elected.

JUNE 2011 Envision Edmonton launches a “Get Out the Facts” campaign, trying to show that quality of health care will be impacted by moving Medevac flights to the international
airport. They keep going and going and going …


SIDETRACK CAFE

APR 2006 The city’s best spot for live music is earmarked for future development as part of real-estate boom in Oliver. It moves downtown to 104th Street.

APR 2006 The historic Pullman car, which was used once by prime minister John Diefenbaker and became an integral part of the Sidetrack’s railway ambience, was moved to Aspen Crossing and now serves as a restaurant. A piece of local history is lost.

SPRING 2006-JAN 2007 Six days after the Pullman is pulled out of the old venue, the new location opens. The new venue keeps the name, but it’s clearly not the same.  Numbers of concertgoers decline, turned off by the sterilized atmosphere, cramped space and poorersound quality.

FEB 2007 The owners pull the plug, costing Edmonton its most notable regular stage for folk and roots acts.

(Article edited from its original version on Sept. 27, 2011)

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